ABOUT MARILYN CARINO - LITTLE GENIUS
Marilyn Carino gained notoriety as the singing and songwriting half of Brooklyn's Mudville. Her contributions to Mudville's three critically-acclaimed albums were lauded as "Nina Simone coming back from the dead to front Morcheeba" - her unique, moving voice hailed as "fearless", "enchanting" and "otherworldly".
Written, performed, recorded and produced by Carino alone, Little Genius is her new solo incarnation and the title of her first post-Mudville release. Little Genius fine-tunes the grit and eclecticism of Mudville, while adding a shot of dark adrenaline. Grinding organs and electro-beats come to life via Carino's soaring melodies and sumptuous vocals. Little Genius delivers rapturous songs that churn like hot lava.
"...an enchanting listen… a testament to the healing powers of rhythm [that] should not go undiscovered.”
“In the hands of the smoldering vocalist Marilyn Carino... down-tempo beats, haunted-matinée-style organ playing, and electronic flourishes coalesce into something familiar yet wholly unique.”
- John Donohue - The New Yorker
“Marilyn Carino sings about troubled longings and bleak surreal visions... her melancholy voice (surrounded by) brooding, minor-key tracks that start with electric piano and guides you brilliantly into smoky, ominous lounge territory, somewhere between Fiona Apple and Morcheeba.”
- Jon Pareles - The New York Times
"Marilyn Carino's quirky wail is plenty spirited."
- Entertainment Weekly
“[Live,] the combination of Carino's dramatic vocals – the gal has serious chops – and the band's brainy, extended improvs triggers a potent fusion of jazz and space-rock. Think Julie Driscoll fronting Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, or better yet set your inner categorizer aside and just enjoy."
- Time Out New York
"Nina Simone came back from the dead to front Morcheeba..."
- Rhapsody Rhadish
“Smoldering like the remnants of a fire, or maybe the beginnings of what will become a blistering blaze, (the twelve tracks on Iris Nova) are a musical force… a slow burn coaxed into well-fueled flames that produce considerable amounts of heat. (The) lyrics are ethereal, quirky, and questioning, complementing the evocative production with ease. The genre-blending that some musicians work so hard to achieve here seems effortless, genuine, and unique.”
(Review of Mudville's "Iris Nova") "...Carino delivers the vocal performance of a lifetime, powerful to the point of bringing you to tears. It’s a song that can rank alongside major-league acts like Radiohead, U2 or even REM for that matter."
- Straight No Chaser
"..a truly unique sound that reaches into your soul and finds a home amongst your bittersweet memories and forgotten love affairs. This music is wet, dripping from the speakers and running around you and holding you. Marilyn's haunting vocals whisper and wail like Annie Lennox at her best."
She’s here to provoke. She’s here to make you think. Whatever your story, hers is more exotic, and she’s no joke. Marilyn Carino is a straight up Bensonhurst, Brooklyn Sicilian-American woman, from the mean streets of The French Connection with a corner fish shop known as a killing floor for mafia hits. Her cousin was in the CIA, her grandmother split the scene to jet-set with the queen of Spain, and her father was a real life Mad Men-esque ad exec. She’s got a passion for cemeteries and a dating history that includes a modern rock legend and an operative for the Irish Republican Army.
The reality of her life is just as fantastic as her torchy electronic rock, which feels like Annie Lennox just met PJ Harvey in Radiohead’s basement (and you’re invited, and there’s plenty of weed). She’s a sassy homo-boy in the body of a screen goddess, and she’s got the balls to match the voice.
Carino’s music career began behind the recording console rather than behind the microphone. Skipping Brooklyn on a whim after she finished school in the 90’s, she flew to Europe on a one-way ticket with $200 in her pocket and ended up staying for a year working in recording studios. Before long she realized that she was doing music vicariously through others, and decided to make it herself rather than tweak knobs for marginally talented autotune jockeys. “My background is in jazz and classic country, where artistic integrity and excellence is valued, so I work as hard as the people I think are great do. I’m on a mission to make cool music for intelligent grownups.”
Her saga began in the form of Mudville, a duo that produced three critically-acclaimed albums. As the singing and songwriting half, Marilyn inflamed and stunned, praised as “Nina Simone coming back from the dead to front Morcheeba." Mudville’s song “Wicked” won a 2008 Independent Music Award for Best Song, and it has continued to be a signature song as she moved on from Mudville to her new solo incarnation, and her album, Little Genius. As a jazz singer making electronic music with veins similar to Portishead and Beck, her work is sexy and thick, her voice an affecting instrument with an elegant grittiness, soaring above violent organs and chunky beats. In Little Genius, Carino does all the recording, mixing, producing and plays all the instruments herself, her personality imbued in the smoky-dark production, expressive singing and themes that dig for hope. “My music is about what I’ve learned about the world and what I’m still figuring out. I think happiness is about the freeing of the individual, and that’s the theme of my work. We’ve got to feel free to fall down and be a mess, to fuck the wrong people, to fail 99 times and keep coming back to get it right on the 100th. The solution to the hardening of the world around us is personal human revolution.”
The revolution in Carino’s music is authentic because she has lived the polarity involved in real change. A long-time practice of Nichiren Buddhism is the centering force that keeps her rooted in her independence and aware of the human potential to transcend difficulties and achieve genuine greatness. As one who has publicly demonstrated in support of American progressive causes and Irish independence (she was even jailed for her associations), and also spent time with lepers and polio victims in an oxcart village in India right after 9/11, she moves those in her path because she has experienced disparate extremes, and has been moved herself.
Move, indeed. Carino’s undeniable talent and full-throttle attitude have moved her through headline performances at the iconic Blue Note jazz club in NYC, playing and recording with Mike Mills of R.E.M. and Billy Talbot of Crazy Horse, recording her first album at Neil Young’s studio, and being hand-picked as a lyricist by legendary producers Sly and Robbie (Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, Grace Jones, Madonna). She has also gone beyond her records and live performances into the big bad world of television and film, with her songs “Hero of the World” and “Blown” prominently featured in the SyFy Channel series “Regenesis,” and other tracks used in the feature films "Slutty Summer," "Fanpires in Venice," and "Going Down in LaLa Land."
With the industry clearly already hot for her, Little Genius, due out in Summer 2011, will just feed the flames. Marilyn Carino is that rare artist who shocks but also grounds her listeners. Uncompromising, humanistic, and insightful, her music is about your life, just in a way you’ve yet to consider. “I keep trying to be brave, be totally myself. It’s sexy to care about art and excellence and the happiness of other people, and it’s important that my life and music encourage you to find those things in yourself.” She sincerely loves you all, but don’t get it twisted.